Parent Problems? Want Sweets? Need a Vacation? Just Call, Mimi!

When your children have children and you suddenly find yourself a grandmother, it’s a bit of a shock. It’s a good shock, but still a little surprising to realize there will soon be a little being in this world who can rightly call you, Grandma.

As the time for my first grandchild’s birth grew near, my daughter-in-law asked what I would like to be called. I had no clue, just knew I didn’t want it to be Grandma. Grandmother sounded a bit too stiff and formal, not too mention a hard name for a one-day toddler to attempt.

I remember asking you guys in a post for help deciding on a name. Honestly, just my actual name, Susan, would have been fine with me. You guys offered up some great suggestions. I don’t remember who suggested it now, but the name that I liked the best of those suggested was Mimi, probably because it reminds me of Mom.

I just Googled to learn more about the name Mimi and several sites state that the origin/meaning of Mimi is “Sea of Bitterness.” Ummm. Apparently, it can also mean Rebelliousness, Wished-for- Child and Beloved. I think I’ll go with Beloved over Sea of Bitterness. Ha!

Honestly, I’ve never felt like a Mimi even though I have two adorable grandsons who call me that now. Maybe when they reach teenage years, I can ask them to drop  Mimi and just call me, Susan. It will probably be way too late for that by then, though.

Kids Summertime Activity, Fossil Hunt


I noticed a few weeks ago that somewhere along the way my son had started calling me Mimi fulltime. He’ll say, “Hey, Mimi, I’m thinking about cooking wings on the grill this evening, does that sound good?” Or, “Mimi, we’re going hiking later today, want to go?”


It took me a while to realize he was never calling me “Mom” anymore, so the next time he called me Mimi, I jokingly reminded him I was not his grandmother. I only have one person in this whole big world that calls me Mom and it made me sad to lose that. He’s been trying to break the habit and it’s taking a while. He’ll start to call me Mimi and catch himself and change it to, Mom. Has anyone else experienced this-suddenly becoming Grandma or Mimi (or whatever you’re called) to everyone around you once you have grandchildren?

A few days ago my grandsons rushed up to me outside where I was sitting talking with their dad while he grilled. They handed me a fabric item that was nicely folded into a small square, declaring it was a “present.” At first, I thought they were playing a game and wasn’t sure what I’d find inside the folded up square of fabric. When unfolded, I saw it and burst out laughing!

Nancy, my daughter-in-love, shared that she found this T-shirt here if there are any Mimis out there who need one: Mimi Shirt.

Mimi T-Shirt


Apparently, Mimi is a popular name for “woman whose kids have kids, but are way too fab and glamourous to be called grandma.” lol When I Googled later that day, I was surprised by how many of these shirts I found online. There must be a lot of “Mimis” out there!Mimi Shirt, Gift Idea


Another cute one, this one is available here: Mimi T-Shirt.

Mimi t shirt


This one is a hoot, note the disclaimer at the bottom. lol You’ll find this one here: Mimi T-Shirt.


Maybe I should get a set of these for my kitchen for when the boys next come for a visit. (Found these here: Mimi Towels.)

If you have grandchildren, what do they call you? Has your son, daughter, or another family member started calling you that, too?


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  1. Cynthia Blaylock says

    I love hearing the names all my girlfriends are called by their grandkids: Mimi, Nama, Nona, Baba (short for abuela in Spanish). I asked to be called Nana because my maternal grandmother was Nana and I loved her so much. And yes, I’ve noticed that everyone in the family (including my husband), now tends to call me Nana. It’s ok – I love it.

  2. Mimi used to be a nickname for Miriam. I’m sorry that has been lost.
    Your daughter-in-law was so kind to ask you for your preference.

  3. Pat Francoforte says

    I’ve been Grammy for 13 years. 12 of those years I babysat 3 of 7. The name is still music to my ears! Our 3 sons call me mom, but my daughter in laws whom we totally love sometimes call me Grammy in front of the kids. I love it. I taught young children for 30 years and loved it, but being a Grammy is the greatest calling.

  4. I called my grandmother Gran. So I decided I wanted to be called Granna. However, my first grandchild had other ideas. He called me Nana For the first time and now that is what all 3 of my grandchildren call me (and my 2 sons most of the time). You don’t always get to choose your name and that’s just fine with me.

  5. Susan, my first started calling me Grammy when she started talking,the others have adopted the same. I had three grandmothers, my step grandmother was Mother Helen. I love that! Missed Kettering so much this summer.

  6. I have been Mimi since my first granddaughter was born, she chose it. My husband frequently calls me Mimi, as do my children. My 3 granddaughters look forward to Camp Mimi every summer, I love it all!

  7. My first grandson was born 28 years ago. He called me Gran. Then I had three more grandchildren and somewhere down through the years it changed to Granny. I really didn’t mind because I absolutely loved my Granny. She was a great influence on my life. Now, hopefully, great grandchildren are in my future. I guess I’ll still be Granny.

  8. franki parde says

    Well, you were “spot on” two children call me “Nana” right along with the grandkiddos, too. Luv ’em all!!!! franki

  9. I don’t have anything against the name Grandma. In fact, my children and my siblings’ children, called their maternal grandparents (my mom and dad) Grandma and Grandpa. Since Mom was still alive when my first few grandchildren were born, it seemed confusing for them to start calling me Grandma, too, so my kids and I considered different “Grandmother” names for me. I really didn’t want it to be a made up name, or a name that was baby-talk mispronunciation, such as MeMom, Gaga, Mommer, etc. Since we are southerners, I would often call my grandchildren “Honey” or “Sweetie” or something similar. When my oldest grandson began to talk, he called me Honey, too, and that kind of stuck. So although I didn’t directly choose that name, I’m happy with it, and I get compliments on it very often when I’m out and about with the grandkids. I love your grandmother name, “Mimi”, too! And I agree with you that it is good for people in a family to use the name that is associated with THEIR relationship to you, not other family members’ relationship to you.

    • Oh, I love that! That would have so much more meaning, too…than just choosing a name like Mimi. I def don’t feel like a Mimi…Honey is adorable, though!

  10. Susan, I believe that being a Grandmother is one of life’s greatest blessings, joys and privileges. Respectfully, I have never understood anyone’s hesitancy or fear of being called Grandma or some form of Grandmother. Any preconceived idea, image or stereotype of a Grandma/Grandmother is an adult perception, and is unknown to the child. All grandmothers begin with a clean slate.

    I waited to become a Grandmother with great longing and the birth of my grandchild was just joyful. I was the baby’s grandmother, no matter what name was ultimately decided.
    In a remarkably short time, that wonderful little person began calling me a name of his choice. I became “Ma”. Would I have chosen “Ma” myself, definitely not. But coming from my grandson it was music to my ears. All too soon he began to grow and understand a little bit more of how all of us fit in the family structure and he switched to Grandma. And, surprisingly, I missed the Ma for awhile.

    My advice to perspective grandmothers is to put less concern into what you will be called. No matter what name is assigned, your words and actions, the love and care you give will become the meaning of that name. Many little ones will decide on their own the ultimate name. And finally, my children fluctuate between calling me Mom, Grandma and Ma. I see each of these as perfectly wonderful names since each one of them conveys a special distinction that my given name does not. MM

    • So glad being called Grandma has worked out for you, Marie. I’m sorry you don’t understand why so many Grandmothers don’t want to be called Grandma, but I can assure that it doesn’t have anything to do with how much they love their grandchildren, how grateful/blessed they feel to have grandchildren or how much they love and appreciate them. It doesn’t even have to do with sterotypes. But I’m very glad that name has worked so well for you. That’s what is really important.

  11. My nieces and nephews started calling my mother (their grandmother) Sweetie. Probably because that is what she called them. The name stuck and soon everyone called her Sweetie. She did remain Mom to me, though.

  12. Diann Patterson says

    I have been Nana for 18 years . As soon as my grandson was born I became Nana to everyone including my children’s friends. It is a right of passage and I would never feel comfortable with my grandchild calling me by my first name. It shows respect , a name that sits me apart from everyone else in their life. So many customs have been forgotten over the years it breaks my heart to think this beautiful loving title would disregarded. Kids need a grandma, Nana, MeeMaw, Gram or Mimi in their life. I cannot imagine my sweet Nannaw being Mabel. just like Mom and Dad I truly believe it is a gift we give our children that sits us apart from the rest of the world. Just because you are called by your first name does not change the fact you are old enough to be a grandmother. I cringe thinking about my kids calling me by my first name. I accepted the title of Mom. Mommy. Mama the day I gave birth just as I did Nana the first time my grandson uttered Nan Nan Nan . I am his Nana. It makes me so happy every time I hear it.

    • It wouldn’t bother since it would be my preference, not anything they forced on me or did out of disrespect. Unfortunately, it’s too late now.

  13. Ha – I totally love all those shirts! And how sweet of them to give you one! Hope you have a lovely Saturday – and hope you get to eat some peaches for National Eat a Peach Day! 🙂

  14. Susie Morris says

    I’m Nana Susie to one adorable grandson -now 16.
    Enjoy the time while they are little -goes by way too fast !!!

  15. Toni (aka Nana Toni) says

    When my grandson was very young and had not called me anything at that point I was talking to him while driving one day about what he would like to call me. Grandma? his reply: “No”, Mema? “No”, Mimi? “No”, Mamaw?
    “No”, Nana? no reply. He was quiet for a while then all of a sudden from the back seat he says “Nana Toni”…. and it’s been Nana Toni ever since (sounds like a new kind of pasta but I could care less! It’s the sweetest sound my ears will never tire of hearing.

  16. I became Ahme when my Jack was born 15 years ago. I think he combined the names we came up with and it stuck for him and then his brother. I love it. I’d have been delighted with anything. My girls and SIL often call me Ahme, as well.

  17. Mary from Virginia says

    Ha! But are there any Susan shirts out there? Most of my friends are called Mimi by their grandkids. We are expecting a grandgirl in December and trying to find a grandmother name isn’t easy! I hope you wear your cool Mimi shirt well!

  18. When my grandson was born, I decided I would like to be called Grammie. But my grandsons first attempts at saying Grammie came out “Mimi.” I am so honored that my grandson bestowed my grandmother name on me and I wear that title like a crown. Enjoy your precious little ones!

    • I have the same story! I wanted to be Grammy but she would only say Mimi. So Mimi it is. 😉
      Here lately she’s been saying “Hey! Hey! Hey!” when she wants your attention. I refuse to answer until she says my name. Call me cruel, but my name is not “Hey!” it’s Mimi.

  19. When our first grandson was about to be born, back in 2012, we decided on Fancy & Grandpa. My name is Nancy, so Fancy was a perfect fit. His other grandma’s name is also Nancy, & she wanted to be Grandma. When I told my husband I wanted to be called Fancy, he said “Well I guess I’ll be just Plain”! But now we have 4 adorable grands, and hearing them call me Fancy is the best thing ever!

  20. I’m with you on not being called grandma or grandmother (yuck) I just went with Grams. I saw a movie once where the granddaughter called here grandma Grams and I thought that’s for me. Whatever they call you, just be happy that they call you. rls

  21. Thinking about it, there were too many Grandmas even when the last name was added after my mom had grandkids. A different name would have made it simpler to figure out who one was talking about. Sadly my mom passed away last Thursday. No more hearing kids call her Grandma.

  22. I am a Mimi, too. I had hoped to be gramma, but my oldest grandson decided I was Mimi and I couldn’t even convince him to change it to gramma mimi.

  23. Holly Rigby says

    Well, I always had two Nanas…and my mother was Nana. So I became Nana. But then 18 month old Ava started say Neena instead and it stuck. So now I am Neena to both now 7 year old Ava and 3 year old Isabel call me Neena. Ava almost got into fisticuffs over a friend at preschool that had an Aunt Nina. Oh no, Neena is MY GRANDMOTHER! My daughter had to explain that was what she called me. I am an old grandmother, 73, so I appreciate anything they call me…I live in Texas, so very grateful NOT to be MEEMAW…

  24. When my son was born he was blessed to have two grandmothers and four great grandmothers. With all of those to keep track of they all were called Grandma followed by their first name. So my mom was Grandma Jan and her mom was Grandma ‘Raine and my dad’s mom was Grandma Alma. Their dad’s mom and grandmothers were also called Grandma followed by their first names. My kids are adults now but I still refer to my mom as Grandma Jan when I am talking to them about their grandma. But I call her “Mom” when when I am talking to her or about her to my siblings.

  25. Brenda s. Lawrence says

    I’m afraid I’m just plain old grandma. My late husband wanted to be called Papaw, so that is what the grands called him. Me, I had no clue and just went with what I was called. So far, I’m still called mom. I don’t blame you for wanting to be called mom by your only child Susan. Although I called my MIL grandma cause that is the my kids called her. Bad habit I guess! lol

  26. So I wanted to be called a Grammy by my granddaughter Georgiana (Georgie) however she had another idea! I have 2 mini schnauzers, Minnie and George and I think there were too many names so she names me Minnie. I love it,it’s a great story and original. My husband had a tee shirt made for me that says”Minnie Shark do do”. Hate ver they call you it’s just great to have grands! Enjoy!

  27. Since we have a blended family, “my” grandchildren call me Gramma and “my husband’s” grandchildren call me Mima. We have blended 9 grandchildren and what’s interesting is that ALL of the children think of themselves as cousins. There’s never been any doubt that I am Gramma to all of them, and Pops is grandfather to all of them! It’s actually quite wonderful.

  28. My sisters oldest son married a Chinese girl and their kids call my sister NaiNai which is grandmother in mandarin and she loves it.

    I love the idea of a title like grandma because the kids have lots of people in their lives that they call by name but they only have 2 grammas and I’m honored to be one of those people, I’d hate for them to call me by my name.
    Mimi is very sweet but for myself I still prefer the title grandma or something that denotes that I’m their Grandmother.
    I think I read somewhere that Marie Osmonds grandkids call her Glamma because she’s such a glamorous and young looking grandmother. ❤

  29. When my oldest grandson was born, it was before the time of Mimis and Gigis. I always liked Gran. When my grandson was about 2 years old he loved to have gum from my large gumball machine. One evening we were close to having dinner and he wanted gum. I said, “No, we are going to eat in a few minutes.” He looked sad and my husband teasingly said, “That’s a mean grannie who won’t let you have gum.” That made him laugh and he teasingly called me Mean Grannie and it stuck. When he was 18 he told me that he guessed he would quit calling me that and I said, “Why?” He told me it was because I had never been mean to him. I said, “I know but it’s up to you. I kind of like it” About two minutes later, he turned around said, “Mean Grannie…” He’s 24 now and I am still Mean Grannie and to him I will be forever and that’s okay with me. I’m Gran to all the other grandkids.
    My mother’s first grandchild called her “Mynee” when she was reaching for her. She had been going through a stage where she said would say “mine” about all her toys and clothes, etc. She reached for my mom and said what sounded like mine-nee…so it became Mynee and all the grandchildren called her that, all of her Sons-In-Love and all of our friends.

  30. Carol A Norton says

    My first grandson was very indignant in pre-school when the class project was learning names of family members and he declared he did NOT have a grandmother. He had a Doozie. In telling my daughter about it on the way home from school, his younger brother–about 2 at the time–piped up “and she’s my Doozie, too!” Wasn’t into being a Grandmother anything for a number of reasons, so Doozie is what we had settled on, because I’m a Doozie of a grandmother, of course! They introduce to their friends as Doozie, and they often call me that, too, which I think is pretty nice. Everybody knows who they’re talking to or about because their isn’t another one.

  31. One 5 year old granddaughter and the sweetest sound is when she calls me “Honey” cause that’s my grandmother name! I’ve heard Gigi and BG (best grandmother), but Honey is the one I’m “sticking” to! 🙂

  32. For my step-daughter’s three girls we are Grandpa and Grandma Kathleen. When our first grandson was talking, out of the blue he called me Mema. I didn’t even know how to spell it (Memaw??). So we are Papa and Mema. Then on the east coast for those grandkids we ended up using Grandpa and Grandma Lamb Chop (because we raise sheep). They don’t always use the Lamb Chop, but it becomes a way to identify the maternal/paternal grandparents. On the other side they are Gramps and Mom Diane. I called my grandmothers Grandma B or Grandma K when talking about them. Sometimes my boys refer to me as Grandma when we are all together, but usually I remain Mom. The DIL’s seem to want to use Mema/Grandma.

    This is an interesting post reading through everyone’s monikers. Oh, and those are cute shirts. I bet the boys had big smiles when they presented your shirt to you!

  33. We have had “Mimi”s in our family (on both sides) for as long as I can remember…so you are in good company ! My mother was Aunt Mimi, Aunt Noni,and Aunt Nomi to my cousins.I am “NeNe”…a name I chose for myself because my knees began to give out just about the same time the “grands” began being born! My daughter and son usually refer to me as “NeNe” when the kids are in the conversation and Mom the rest of the time. Either is fine with me but, I find myself using “NeNe” more often than Mom.

  34. Susan H Whetstine says

    My husband and I are called PopPop and Nana and we love it!!! My son in law even calls us that.

  35. Linda townsend says

    I love being called grandma and now I have a great grandchild. My granddaughter asked me what I wanted to be called and, in my heart, I still want to be just grandma. I had wonderful grandmas and am happy to share their name.
    By the way, I still love clothes, parties, and fun times. I do not think of myself as being an old foggy.

  36. Here’s what some of my sisters are called (I’m only Mimi to dogs so far): Nana, Granny, Grammi and the best one – Gragster, lol. That grand niece used to call my sister Gra-ga, then it was Graggy, and now Gragster. She’s currently 13. I’ve heard my sisters call their grown kids’ fathers (their husbands) Dad, so yea, the names get muddled over time.

  37. Georgette Nichols says

    We were going to be Grampy and Grandmama 12 years ago. Our first grandchild had other ideas. Now we are Bampy and Mamama to four grandsons and four step grandkids–seven boys and one girl.

  38. I’m not a grandmother yet but I already have my name, ha. My nephew couldn’t pronounce Sabrina & called me Bebe. Now my family calls me Bebe & I want to keep it for my grandma name.

  39. Molly Tilson says

    I have 6 grandchildren. My sons children call me Grandmolly. My daughter wanted her children to call me Monee which was her nickname for me in her teenage years. Her youngest started out calling me Ma. He now calls me Monee. My husband is Pops to all 6. . One day day I heard my oldest grandson he was 6 asking his sister, “she is Ms Molly (I was his preschool teacher) Grandmolly, Monee ….what IS her name?!”

  40. I am Nana to 2 beautiful Granddaughters. Have been for 22 years now. They decided to call me that and now all the family calls me Nana, even my husband most of the time, all their friends, and everyone in our family. They call my husband Pop, he was going to be Papa, but the oldest one could only say Pop, so that stuck with him. We love being Nana and Pop to all. Some of my friends are Grammy. Tata, Granny, Mema, Grandmother, Grand Mickey, Nanny. Gigi, and Glammy. So kids sort of come with lots of good ones. Proud to be a Nana, love every minute of it.

  41. I started out as Grandma and my granddtr started calling me Ginga – no one knows why so it stuck Some of my grands call me Grandma but mosat call me Ginga

  42. Mary Lou Holland says

    My grandmother was called Lovey. I wasn’t the oldest grandchild so I don’t know how that started…Might just be a southern thing. My nickname as a child was Mimi. When I became a grandmother myself, I went back to Mimi because all the people who had lovingly called me that as a child are gone now. It’s my love name.
    ❤️Mary Lou
    Centerville, Ohio

  43. Susan,
    Loved this post!! I am not a grandmother and will most likely never be and I am good with that. But I did often think about what i would like to be called when a lot of my friends were becoming Grandparents… The “traditional” names never sat right with me , personally. But I do not like titles, never did. I do not even like to be called “Aunt” and would prefer to just be called Deb. I do like Mimi and I think that is what i would have chosen . Thanks for sharing!! I really enjoyed this post!!

  44. Must admit, came from a family that traditionally used titles namely out of respect and even my adult nieces and nephews still refer to me as Auntie Brenda whereas I am also still Mom to my children. On that note though ; my grandchildren call me ‘Nanny’ which my mother was also by hers, plus it distinguishes me from the other grandparents who are referred to as ‘Grandma’. Enjoyed your story and love the shirt!

  45. Sounds like you don’t like being “Mimi” . I think it’s an adorable name for a grandmother….I’m Mimi to my 5 precious grands and wouldn’t want it any other way.

    My brother is about to become a first time grandparent and when my SIL asked me for name suggestions I told her I recently saw one I thought was cute….Lolli and Pop for Lollipop (LOL)! I think that’s what they’re going with.

  46. Did you know there’s an older song entitled “Mimi”? Here’s a version complete with showgirls by Maurice Chevalier:
    And a slower one by Dean Martin, from what looks like a release of all French songs:
    I’m a GaGa and the other grandmother is Mimi–so fun what grandkids come up with.

  47. We are called Tiggy and Otter. Tiggy, for Mrs. Tiggywinkle who like me, loves to iron and drink tea and perhaps because I can on occasion be a little prickly.
    🙂 Otter, because they have always been my husband’s favorite animal and shares similar characteristics – extremely playful and loving and can float blissfully through life. Thus, we now have a small but fine collection of Herend and Baccarat otters and hedgehogs and Mrs. Tiggywinkle figurines and an assortment of others that we keep getting gifted. Thank god for a vitrine!

    We had always thought we would be called Grandie, a combo of Grandmother and my name, and Big Paw because my husband is a large man with big hands. But things just have a way of evolving that are out of our control. For control freaks like me, we just have to learn to go with the flow and not stress over the minor things of life. So Tiggy and Otter it is.

  48. We are called Tiggy and Otter. Tiggy, for Mrs. Tiggywinkle who like me, loves to iron and drink tea and perhaps because I can on occasion be a little prickly.
    🙂 Otter, because they have always been my husband’s favorite animal and shares similar characteristics – extremely playful and loving and can float blissfully through life. Thus, we now have a small but fine collection of Herend and Baccarat otters and hedgehogs and Mrs. Tiggywinkle figurines and an assortment of others that we keep getting gifted. Thank god for a vitrine!

    We had always thought we would be called Grandie, a combo of Grandmother and my name, and Big Paw because my husband is a large man with big hands. But things just have a way of evolving that are out of our control. For control freaks like me, we just have to learn to go with the flow and not stress over the minor things of life. So Tiggy and Otter it is.

  49. I’m “Grammie”. My mother-in-law (now a great-grandmother) is “Grandmother” and the little ones have all learned to say it. I’d be happy with anything they call me, but hearing “I love you, Grammie” is the sweetest sound in the world to me. I called my mother’s parents by their first names, which was their choice. My other grandmother was “Mammaw”. As long as you are happy with it, the name is immaterial – it means love, whatever it may be!

  50. Think of it this way, just as your son is the only one who can call you Mom and it saddened you to think of loosing that. You are the only Mimi your grandsons have. Let them have thier Mimi.

    • I just think it’s sad that they call me a name that was pulled out of thin air. They could be calling me Bread or Table and it would feel the exact same to me. There’s really no meaning behind Mimi for me, just the least worst option I could come up with when I was trying to think of something for them to call me.

  51. I am a Gigi. It means as much to me as being called Mom. It is a special name that my grandchildren call me. My son still calls me Mom unless he is talking to his children. I love every minute of it! But then I have never liked my name.

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